Carrie Lutjens

For years, a distressed 10-unit building sat underutilized next to All Souls Episcopal Parish (ASEP) in Berkeley, California. Though the church owned the property, it lacked the funds necessary to renovate or redevelop it on its own.

Church leaders also wanted to use the parcel to better serve their community, as well as provide an office and living quarters for the parish’s staff and pastor.

Thus, a partnership was born.

All Souls reached out to Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA) and collaborated on a plan to demolish the old building and develop a new, senior-specific, income-restricted housing project in its place.

Carrie Lutjens

“The project provides much-needed housing for low-income and formerly homeless seniors, while delivering key program space for ASEP that will help ensure a sustainable future for the church,” says Eve Stewart, vice president of real estate development at SAHA.

Completed in February, the $24 million Jordan Court boasts 37 units, 12 of which are set aside for seniors experiencing homelessness with persistent mental illness. Rents range between $439 and $1,295 per month, or about 48% to 82% below the typical rents of Berkeley.

The ASEP congregation also fundraised to help residents with their moving costs, furniture needs, and assistive devices, and each tenant received welcome baskets, too—complete with household staples, towels, and cleaning supplies.

“We just are really excited to have done this partnership,” Stewart says. “I know a lot of faith-based groups are considering this, and, hopefully, this is just one really good, shining example of how successful and rewarding this kind of partnership can be.”